Like every year, for the past 300 years, the tradition of the explosion of the cart, known as the 'brindellone', is renewed at 11:00 in Piazza del Duomo in Florence, a long-awaited event by the Florentines and, for the tourists present in the city, a show not to be missed!
The "Brindellone", also known as the "cart of fire", has an imposing structure: 11 and 60 meters high, 3 and 40 meters long, weighing 40 quintals, with the banners of the four historic Florentine districts drawn on the sides, contains explosive cargo on all sides, around 10:00 in the morning of Easter day, it is escorted from the Cascine, where it is kept during the year, towards the city centre.
Our 'Brindellone', after having traveled the streets of Florence with 500 people, including armed men, musicians and flag-wavers of the historic procession of the Florentine Republic, and pulled by four white oxen decorated with flowers, arrives in Piazza del Duomo where it is placed between the Baptistery and the Cathedral, waiting for the beginning of Mass.
Around 11:00, during the singing of the "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" in the cathedral, from the high altar the archbishop lights a rocket in the shape of a dove (the 'colombina' which symbolizes the Holy Spirit) which flies out of the church and, along a thread that joins the high altar to the top of the cart, it sets fire to the firecrackers placed on the Brindellone, giving life to spectacular fireworks lasting about 20 minutes!
Tradition has it that if the dove proceeds straight along the wire, hits the cart and returns to the high altar, a rich harvest and good luck for the city and its citizens are ensured. And this is why every year we wish for a perfect explosion of the so-called "Brindellone".
But who was this Brindellone from whom the wagon takes its name? Legend has it that the word "brindellone" in Florentine slang indicates a tall person, badly dressed, with a slouching and slightly unsteady gait, like someone who has had one too many drinks, but to whom one looks with affection and sympathy… Like the “Carro di Fuoco”: tall, dangling and 'tattered' which, on Easter day, fills the whole city of Florence with explosions, smoke and lots and lots of joy!